Zimbabwe is facing severe starvation which can match that of Somalia and Yemen, a United Nations expert Hilal Elver warned this Thursday.
The UN Special Rapporteur was presenting a preliminary statement at the end of her 11-day visit on the right to food when she indicated that starvation due to El Nino induced drought was making its way into Zimbabwe and is likely to affect about 60% of the total population. Elver said:
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In rural areas, a staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns are impacting harvests and livelihoods. In urban areas, an estimated 2.2 million people are food-insecure and lack access to minimum public services, including health and safe water.
She added that starvation was likely to be worsened by poverty and high unemployment, widespread corruption, severe price instabilities, lack of purchasing power, poor agricultural productivity, natural disasters, recurrent droughts and unilateral economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, the government has since appealed for handouts from sympathisers and stakeholders saying that the country would need about 800 000 tonnes of maize to head off hunger.
More: Zim Morning Post